Terry's Reviews > 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

13 Things That Don't Make Sense by Michael Brooks
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, audiobook, non-fiction, science
Read from April 02 to 03, 2012

13 Things That Don't Make Sense is a quick overview of some of the current questions that are still left unanswered by science. The role of the book is important in that it nicely outlines a few areas of our ignorance but I feel that some things were skipped while others were played up. I also feel that the book succumbs to a bit of false equivocation but does so in the spirit of "everything's not quite solved".

The section on the dark matter problem gives excess weight to modified newtonian dynamics while ignoring other options which are a bit more technical. MOND has some interesting personalities involved in ways that coformal gravity doesn't so I can see why they've weren't as heavily pursued.

The section on life and death makes a critical error of focusing on the health of the individual and not the health of its genes, which can help resolve some of the group selection issues the author raises.

Finally, I was very edgy about the section on homeopathy but I think it was well done. I don't think it belongs in the book but the review of "pseudosciences that have admitted problems" would have been a better home for this chapter.

The author also misses a chance to talk about a very fundamental problem of 21st century physics, that of comprehensibility. I think questions like "is the random nature of quantum mechanics resolvable to a strictly predictive model" and "should cosmic inflation be taken at face value" are much more important than some of the other questions raised and were probably excluded because bringing the reader up to speed would take considerable time. Sacrifices.
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